I marched on Washington in 69
Seemed like millions of us
Declaring war on a war faraway
It was Vietnam this time
A war that could never be justified
By hawks or doves
We saw it on TV

While my compatriots shouted
Peace Now!
In supermarkets and the
Washington Monument
I pursued dialog
at Lincoln’s Memorial

I spoke to folks from the world over
Who gathered under his watchful eyebrows
We discussed different brands
Of peace and war
I sought solace
from his benevolent gaze

It was 9/11 that next twisted my gut
I shouted at the TV without response
Wandering around my apartment
What could we protest now
And who would listen
As we saw twin towers fall on TV

Sadness dripped a trail
Through my neighborhood
People were stunned
And shuffled around
Wounded warriors all
I pursued dialog with a silent world

I greeted my neighbors
With a shy smile and hellos
People I did not know
It mattered not
Were included in this humble tribute
I sought solace from silent friends

It is 2018 and the world has not grown up
Instead violence replaces vegetables
It fills schools with shouts of retribution
Where cowards grow on street corners
Where violence is no longer a special event
It has become a way of life

Sadness wraps around the heartland
No spoons are left untouched
We eat with heads bowed
Wondering when the next betrayal begins
With shouts of desperation
We eat soup cast from tears

Protests add number to a bloated plane
Casting about for enemies
Where are our friends
Hands tied behind their backs
Praying for prayer
Tied for first place vying for last

I could not stand the shouting
Wanting to lay hands upon the suffering
And preach a gospel of relief
Stop crying ourselves to sleep
Only we can change the world
Engaging each other in song

Time to stop wondering where we went wrong
And make it all go right
We cannot sweep it under rugs
And confront our personal revolution
Raise hands made of fists
With peaceful connotation

Don’t take any wooden nickels
Or preach from pulpits made of ash
Look kindly upon your sisters
Look benevolently upon your brothers
Never quench that thirst of understanding
Stand tall

Seek solace with those that care
Not filled with artificial sweetener
Choose leaders with care and intelligence
Serving the greater good
No alliance with the evil
No one shall walk alone

Larry Jaffe